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Hotel Gyms in 2018: A Definitive Guide For Travelers

Hotel Gyms in 2018: A Definitive Guide For Travelers

Hotel gyms are getting better as hotels try to court health-conscious travelers. 


There was a time when the hotel "fitness center" was nothing more than a dimly-lit closet with a treadmill and two dumbbells.

Thankfully, those days are fading into the past.

While there are a few hotels that haven't kept pace with our more health-conscious priorities, most are now racing to court fitness-minded travelers by building bigger and fancier gyms.

The hotel gym in 2018 will look a lot different than the one we're used to seeing. 

But there's a problem. 

Most people aren't using the hotel gym, no matter how nice it is. A recent survey showed that only 22 percent of hotel guests actually used the fitness center, even though nearly half said they planned to use it when they arrived. 

From an investment perspective, hotels are losing money on their fancy gyms. That hasn't stopped them from building fitness centers with gorgeous views and increasing workout options, though. 

What to Expect From Hotel Gyms in 2018

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While many commercial gyms provide equipment and space for functional workouts and high-intensity interval training, most hotel gyms have been slow to catch up. You’ll see many regular gyms now with turf areas, gymnastic rings, monkey bars, sleds, and kettlebells but it’s hard to find hotel gyms with these items. There are a few (The 10 Best Hotel Gyms in the World) but they are rare.

According to research done by the the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, only 22 percent of hotel guests use the hotel gym but this number should rise as young, fitness-minded travelers begin to make up more of the travel market. These travelers will deliberately seek out hotels that provide a unique, up-to-standard fitness experience. 

It's becoming unacceptable for a luxury hotel to offer guests a dark, lonesome room with one machine and pass it off as a gym. That will be out in 2018. What will be in are amazing views, Crossfit and SoulCycle classes, functional fitness facilities, yoga studios, in-room fitness equipment and detailed decor that excites fitness-minded travelers. 

Are you into Crossfit?

Then you have to check out Jumba Bay, a Rosewood resort, located on a private island close to Antigua. Newbies and veterans alike will enjoy the classes held at the resort, so you can get your fix of burpees and kettlebell swings by day and sip cocktails and party on the beach at night.

Want the hotel gym to be in your room?

That's happening. A growing number of hotels are offering guests in-room fitness amenities, such as yoga mats, TRX straps, and stationary bikes. Five Feet From Fitness, by Hilton, includes eleven different fitness and accessory options right in your room. Look for this trend to expand to more hotel chains in 2018.

3 Hotels That Are Crushing the Fitness Game

 Spartan Gym - 1 Hotel South Beach

Spartan Gym - 1 Hotel South Beach

To court fitness-minded travelers, these three hotel chains have sprinted ahead of the pack with some innovative health and fitness accommodations for their guests.

Even Hotels

Equipped with a wellness-savvy staff, a best-in-class fitness experience, healthy food choices and relaxing spaces, Even Hotels are taking the marriage of travel and fitness to another level. Keep your wellness routine on track with well-equipped gyms and "in-room training zones" that include resistance bands, foam rollers and yoga mats. Freshly prepared food for specific diets are also available, rounding out the list of amenities that make Even Hotels a great choice for fit travelers.

Westin Hotels and Resorts

Eat, move and sleep well at Westin Hotels and Resorts thanks to a host of health and fitness-minded options for guests. Maintain your healthy lifestyle with nutritious foods, healthy snacks and energizing vitamin-packed juices. World class fitness studios, concierge-guided runs and in-room workout equipment provide a number of options for fit travelers to get in a great workout. Pack even lighter and take advantage of Westin Gear Lending which provides you with New Balance workout gear delivered right to your room.  

1 Hotels

Looking for a hotel that will help you relax your soul? 1 Hotels might be the best option. With hotel rooms designed for comfort with pure and natural elements, your stay in one of their three current locations (Manhattan, Brooklyn and Miami) will foster your creativity and productivity while you enjoy the luxurious amenities available to you. For your fitness, 1 Hotels offer classes in high intensity interval training, yoga, pilates and guided meditation. While outdoor workouts on rooftops and terraces are preferred here, the indoor fitness centers offer a great experience that will help you recharge your body, mind and spirit.

The South Beach Miami location even features a Spartan Gym through a partnership with Spartan Race - the company that runs the obstacle course mud races that have become extremely popular. The 14,000 square foot facility includes obstacles, climbing ropes, monkey bars, training classes, and outdoor workout areas. 

Beyond 2018

If this all sounds great, what can we expect to see further down the road?

For starters, an exciting new idea that we'll first see in 2019 is the Equinox Hotel. Expected to debut in New York City, the upscale gym chain plans to open as many as 75 fitness hotels around the world, starting with the Hudson Yards location on Manhattan's West Side next year. Guests of the future hotel can anticipate a 60,000 square foot gym, indoor and outdoor pools, in-room amenities, and healthy eating options. 

We can probably expect to see hotels lean more on providing guest with in-room fitness gear and equipment, like Westin, Even, and 1 Hotels have been doing. In 2018 and beyond, the largest hotel chains may get on board with this idea and it could become commonplace to find a yoga mat or stationary bike in every room.

Bottom Line

While hotels might be overestimating their guests' motivation to workout while traveling, it's great to health and fitness emerging as an integral part of the hospitality experience. Consider 2018 to be a potential turning point for the quality of the average hotel gym.

Have you noticed any nice hotel gyms in your recent travels?

If you liked this article, you'll love this one:

10 Things to Love and Hate About Hotel Gyms

Cover Photo Credit: Belmond Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro

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